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I am a severe critic of the American bakery scene, which is, imo, nothing but substandard ingredients, recipes (or no recipes and just mixes), technique and products, the greater majority of baked items being cloyingly sweet, boring, and/or dry. (Of course ymmv.)
Boston has never had a great French patisserie/ bakery. But as some know, the Cape now does!! Maison Villatte in Falmouth is the real deal (and Burlington VT's Mirabelle comes close.) We started our recent week's Cape vacation- with seated soup and quiche lorraine lunch, and take away pastries and cookie. Technique was consistently admirable, with baked puff and croissant doughs that shatter into fine translucent layers (that brought forth from me some major sighs.)
The Lorraine was soft and creamy in a well done (not raw) crust, not over-salted, and appropriately tinged with nutmeg. (But the Mushroom quiche was undersalted and needed more cheese.) The only other loser- the pistachio puff -really did not taste of pistachios even though it did contain them. But the choc. almond croissant had a refined flavor depth to the abundant moist filling. The deep dark chewy chocolate cookie with white choc. chunks- had an unusual choc. profile and a caramel flavor that made it all the more special. The beautifully decorated mini cakes, one Blueberry Lemon and one Choc. Hazelnut Royale, were fantastic, particularly the Royale, with its candied hazelnuts in a deep choc. mousse and crispy layer of feuilletine above the bottom biscuit (short cookie) layer. Nothing was cloyingly sweet; they were all just sweet enough. Yes maam, the French sure do know from pastry!
The friendly smart staff heated our mini quiches and savory croissants in their baking oven (no nuking here!), and the creamy Tomato Basil Soup was one of the best soups I have enjoyed in New England (right up there with DuckFat's Tomato Fennel Soup in Portland ME.) I was very surprised that MV does not make Palmiers, but you can't have everything! The regular menu of baked sweets and savories ( including breads) varies daily and is quite large (we only sampled ~50%.) As it is, I could certainly understand any Bostonian French patisserie fan being willing to drive the 90 minutes to Falmouth to stock up on the large variety of worthwhile offerings here ! What a thrill!
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